Uniform Climate Risk Disclosure: The Catalyst to Private Sector Climate Action

William attended the UNFCCC forum. He is a Juris Doctor student at RMIT University in Melbourne. William works and volunteers at a non-government organisation that aims to ensure finance and investment is used to help solve major environmental problems like climate change. 

Abstract

Meeting the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement will require a reallocation of capital, away from emissions-intensive activities, and towards clean, efficient alternatives. In order to optimise this reallocation, investors must understand which companies are best placed to take advantage of the opportunities posed by climate change, and which are most exposed to climate change risks.

The G20 Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has recommended that organisations disclose information regarding the risks and opportunities they face as a result of climate change, along with their plans to manage those risks and opportunities. The recommendations were adopted by the G20 at its July 2017 summit in Hamburg, giving a clear indication as to the direction of future domestic policy in Australia.

Given climate change poses material business risks to some organisations, it is clear that some level of disclosure is already required under the Australian corporate regulatory regime. However, climate risk disclosure to this point has been far from uniform or comprehensive. Further guidance, supervision and enforcement is required to ensure climate risk disclosure is sufficient to give an accurate representation of a company’s prospects. This would enable markets to make informed investment decisions, thus driving the push towards a cleaner, more sustainable economy.

This paper identifies the immediate and longer term regulatory measures that should be implemented to ensure mandatory uniform climate risk disclosure amongst Australian companies.

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Using Behavioural Psychology Research to inform A CLIMATE CHANGE Communications Strategy

Rhiannon attended the UNFCCC forum. She is studying a Master of Public Policy and Management at Murdoch University. Rhiannon has a background in environmental science and holds a Bachelor of Science degree (with Honours). 

Abstract

Climate change is one of the pre-eminent issues of our time and lagging acknowledgement, acceptance and action needs to be addressed if climate change is to be combatted. Unconscious processes and adaptations in the human mind can influence the beliefs and behaviours of individuals to a surprising degree and can significantly affect and potentially weaken policy outcomes and the implementation of climate change action. Behavioural psychology research offers insights into target audience identification, tailored message crafting through emotional framing and congruency with audience worldview, and message delivery through trusted authorities and social networks.

This paper will (1) review key institutions in place for communications on climate change originating from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; (2) consider insights from behavioural psychology research including behavioural economics, segmentation and social marketing; and (3) propose a communications strategy informed by behavioural economics, a mechanism for its funding, and a potential dissemination network, using the identified existing institutions.

Behavioural psychology has a lot to offer in informing climate change communications. These insights could inform a strategy that could be incorporated into existing institutions and increase the effectiveness of climate change communications on changing attitudes and behaviours.

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Establishing a Thriving Sector for Community Energy Projects in Australia

Kelsey attended the UNFCCC forum. She is in her first year of study and is completing a combined degree of Law and Science at the University of Newcastle. 

Abstract

This paper proposes that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) establish a specific section or office which focuses on renewable energy uptake in communities. It proposes legislative reform to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, which would provide a clear political framework for the uptake of community energy programs. These recommendations would provide support to communities wishing to establish a project, particularly during the pre-planning stage of development. They will address the underlying causes of community energy stagnancy in Australia, including the difficulty of navigating the pre-planning stage (Parliament of Victoria, 2017). The reforms would provide a political framework which indicates governmental support, and will provide skills, funding, transparent monitoring, and support for the pre-planning stage.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established the Global Climate Action Agenda in 2015. The Agenda aims to boost cooperative actions between governments, cities, businesses, investors, and citizens to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (UNFCCC, 2015). COP23 President Frank Bainimarama is focusing on private sector mobilisation as an objective of the Climate Action Agenda. An agency for community energy in Australia would effectively support the Agenda by facilitating collaboration between governments, investors, and communities.

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Can Australian Agriculture Reduce Emissions and Obtain Food Security?

Claire-Marie attended the UNFCCC forum. She is in her last year at Central Queensland University studying a Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Security through distant education in Townsville. 

Abstract

Can Australia reduce excess greenhouse gases and other emissions while increasing food productivity? This paper will investigate the possibility of this claim through determining how Australia is currently performing and how Australia can achieve the climate agenda targets. By improving their approaches towards efficient farming practices and policy recommendations will ensure Australia’s future food security.

Australia is currently on track to achieve the Kyoto Protocol by 2020, however, under the Paris agreement a reduction of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels, 612 MtCO2-e to 441 MtCO2-e, by 2030 deems to be more challenging. Technology, infrastructure, policies, and programs need to be improved with the future development of agriculture relying on the Government to support changes to reduce emissions while increasing food production. However, is it feasible and possible to collaborate with Government and producers to make this happen?

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Green Climate Fund

Ashley attended the UNFCCC Climate Talks. She has a Bachelor of International Relations with Honours from La Trobe University. Ashley is currently studying a Master of Environment at Melbourne University with a particular focus on Global Environmental Politics. 

1. Background

This policy brief will examine the Green Climate Fund (GCF) which is a unique mechanism to provide financing for developing nations to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. The brief will focus on projects which have been implemented or approved by the GCF to take place in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Pacific. Specifically, how accessible the process was for these small states with minimal resources and recommended policies that could improve its effectiveness and accessibility. COP23 will be hosted by Fiji who aims to bring the issues facing SIDS to the fore. This policy brief will highlight the challenges faced by the Pacific islands in trying to access finance.

Pacific Islands are at the fore front of the impacts of climate change. It is widely publicised they are “sinking into the ocean” (1) due to sea level rise. However, they are also at the mercy of increasing extreme weather events in the Pacific; including drought and tropical storms. These events can also have a profound effect on the limited water supply, inadequate infrastructure and the reliance on imported diesel for fuel production in many Pacific islands (2). What makes matters worse is their contribution to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions is almost negligible at 0.03 percent (3). Some SIDS have made valiant efforts to work towards 100 percent renewable energy, unfortunately this would barely contribute to the overall reduction of global emissions. Additionally, these states generally have low capacity to adapt with restrictive incomes, small populations and geographical remoteness (4). 

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